Saturday, December 14, 2013

Completed: A Knit Norah

We're doing something a little different for Christmas gifts this year. Instead of store-bought gifts for our extended family, necessity and desire have compelled us to provide "gifts of service." For my parents, we're going through and organizing four boxes of family photos. For Ryan's parents, we're providing a home-cooked meal once a month in 2014. There are some other things we're doing/will do, and we'll be buying a few gift cards. For the cousins, one nephew, and one of our nieces, I'm sewing.

Our niece is 10, and last year (or the year before?) I made her a few simple skirts. This year my mother-in-law asked me to make her a dress, so I sifted through patterns and together we landed on The Norah Dress. One of Hayley's testers made a Norah for a girl near Faith's age, and they really liked the combination of the stripes and layered sleeves.

Here's our version.

Ha! It was raining when I took these, which is why the button's wet.


Pattern: The Norah Dress by Mouse House Creations

Fabric: Knit from Joann's. The gray is a loose knit, and the stripe is extremely lightweight and thin.

  • Added twill tape to the shoulders and neck seam to provide stability so the neckline didn't gape or stretch. (The button tab meant the neckline didn't have to stretch.)
  • Added the striped sleeve to the long sleeve. I simply seamed them RST and then folded the gray over to create a mock double sleeve, topstitching the gray down. If I had it to do over, I would have gotten more fabric and actually made a full sleeve in the stripe and created a real double sleeve.
  • Changed the order of construction to avoid set-in sleeves. Sewed side seams and sleeve seams all at once.
  • Included lining side seams in shell side seams to avoid the knit fabric sticking and riding.
  • I had a humongous sewing epiphany during this project. I've had a walking foot for years and never used it, but this time I tried it after reading Rae's tutorial on how to avoid wavy knit seams. They've been plaguing me, and I knew this rib knit would give me grief. Not so. The walking foot made it so, so easy. I will never sew knits again with a regular foot.
  • The only thing I'd change if I had it to do over is the sleeves. I should've gotten more fabric. The sleeve hem isn't perfect.
  • It fit Faith beautifully. She said it was comfortable, and it was absolutely adorable on her. It was one of the most gratifying sewing projects I've completed.


  1. This dress looks brilliant, and such a thoughtful pressie! Will have to grab myself a walking foot as I always have the 'creeping-fabric' problem' as well ... J

    1. Thanks, Judith! I highly recommend the walking foot. I picked mine up for under $20. I think the price depends on your machine -- mine's a Singer. Apparently this foot is good for matching stripes and quilting, too.

  2. What a great way to do presents :) The dress is great, I hope your niece will love it :)

    1. Thank you, Jenya! She really seemed to like it, so that made me happy too. :)

  3. "Gifts of Service" are a great idea....when we were younger, mom would always ask for a 'coupon book' of things we would do for her that she could 'cash in on' through the year {I hadn't thought about this in YEARS}!! That said, she'd still love a 'coupon book' of sorts for 2014.... :). I love the tween Norah -- so age appropriate, comfortable, and stylish!! I can see why your niece LOVES it!!

    1. Thanks, ladies! My mom has wanted to have her pictures organized for years, but it's just one of those things that slips through the cracks! We are thrilled to be able to do it, and to tell you the truth, Ryan and I are enjoying the stroll down memory lane. We look forward to serving others with some other things we've planned.

      As for the dress, it's so hard to find great clothes for that age! She loved it, and we thought it was age-appropriate and cute, too! Thank you!!

  4. "Gifts of service" is such a great idea!!!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! It's been more work, but we've thoroughly enjoyed figuring out what we can do and planning our projects.

  5. Very cute. At first glance, I thought it was a tunic for you! You totally would rock that with some black leggings and boots friend :) We are heading up to your old stomping ground after Christmas for a few days. We are definitely going to biltmore bc we have never been, do you have any other suggestions on must sees, must eats, etc. It will be all 4 of us - so 2 adults a 13 yr old and a 10 yr old.

    1. Christmas at Biltmore is lovely. It's where we spent Christmas Day last year, and it's one of my happiest memories. :) Walking around Biltmore Village is always popular. Waechter's Fine Fabrics is right there!

      Other than Biltmore, I'd suggest wandering around downtown shops along Broadway and Lexington. There are lots of local restaurants; our favorites are Salsa's, Farm Burger, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Early Girl or Green Sage (for breakfast), The Market Place (fancy dinner), French Broad Chocolate Lounge or Kilwin's (for dessert).

      The Grove Park Inn is beautiful and has lots of history. Sometimes tourists just go to sit in the lobby and enjoy the view.

      If the Parkway isn't closed, our favorite place to see a sunset was Craggy Gardens. It's not too far from town.

      And of course, if you've got enough time to head 25 miles east, Black Mountain has a quaint downtown with lots of little shops, too.

      Enjoy!! Merry Christmas!


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